Thursday, December 15, 2005

Suffering For Doing Good

But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21).

Each morning in my QT, one of my regular daily activities is to pray through one of the VOM prayer requests. The one this morning was about 3 young Indian Christians who were selling Christian literature and bibles when a young man approached them, flip through the literature and then became angry because there was no mention of his gods in their articles. He began beating them and soon after 30 others joined in the attack. The 3 young men responded with these words: Though we were brutally attacked, we have no hatred toward any one. Neither have we made any complaint to the police. We forgive the attackers, like Christ who said on the cross: 'Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.'"

I am inspired and yet challenged by the response of these brothers who once again remind me that living for Christ is never easy. They have an understanding of ‘sharing in the fellowship of Christ’ sufferings’ that we in the West have no concept of. Only Christ living in them can enable them to respond in such a way. John Piper in a recent comment talking about the price of caring like Jesus said this: what the world needs from the Christian church, isn’t the power of political influence. It is the power of being willing to take up our cross and suffer with Jesus on the Calvary Road. My brothers in Christ in India have set an example of how to take up the cross of Christ and suffer and endure for Christ in an environment that is hostile to Christ. We in the West are not subjected to that type of persecution. In fact so often it is easy to read these stories of suffering and become de-sensitized and move on. But I am being challenged to sit and ponder them and to engage all my heart and soul as best as I know how. I am challenged to pray for these who endure for the sake of their faith in the midst of such persecution, that God will rend the heavens and come down and show His glory; That He will continue to give them boldness and courage despite the opposition and that what man intended for harm, God will use for good. I am challenged to ask the hard questions of myself, how would I respond to such persecution? Could I be as Christ like in my response as they were? Yet this is what God is also calling us to; we are called to endure suffering knowing that it is a gracious thing in God’s sight.

6 comments:

Hamster said...

Amen, sister! Your blog resonates with me, but I must admit, one can become desensitized to reading about the situations that arise. However, on many an occasion, reading about and praying for present-day martyrs have reminded me how God calls us to live - not for comfort, but for His Gospel. Their stories also make the passages in the Gospel related to suffering and persecution more applicable.

lisa said...

Yes not for our comfort but for His gospel which...or as Rick Warren says 'it's not about me, its about God'

Shannon said...

wow, so true and like you say, so hard to imagine in the western context. i think part of our 'sufferings' is learning to remember those who suffer much and truly relate to them in the joy of Christ... and when our day comes, oh that we would be ready...

...we need to get together one of these days... I just returned from Chile and am heading out with a team from church to the DR on the 26th - 6th Jan... maybe when i get back? before National Staff Mobilisation Conference (11th Jan) or during? call me / email me - I still have something for you from Stroma! (yes, it's been that long...)
Love yu - Shannon

out_there_q said...

I confess... I often opt to lump it into a prayer "Lord, have mercy. carry these brothers and sisters." and redirect my attention to the 16 other horrific tales in hte headlines each morning.

The call, to body-ness, requires a different response! Would that He draw our prayers forward, interceding for the part of the Church that is not bearing witness or suffering for the witness. Lord, have mercy on us.
-q-

Anonymous said...

this site is soooooo exciting

Hamster said...

Hey, Lisa...when are you going to update your blog?